The development of doctoral nursing programs and use of information technology are essential components to redesigning healthcare, said speakers at the third California Doctoral Nursing Conference hosted by the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science.
The conference, themed “Building Strategic Partnerships: Education, Technology, Research and Practice,” took place March 16 in San Diego.
DNPs fit in with ACOs
The development of doctoral nursing programs is key to transforming healthcare to a more patient-centered system focusing on accountability and outcomes, said keynote speaker Geraldine Bednash, RN, PhD, FAAN.
Healthcare reform is much more than legislation and will require a reconceptualized practice for all healthcare professionals along with the development of performance measures for practice design, roles and reimbursement, said Bednash, CEO and executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Bednash warned nurses still need to develop “a better understanding of the practice-focused elements for the DNP,” she said. “This is not a research doctorate, and we must avoid forcing the educational expectations into a model for that type of degree.”
California is slated to be the largest site for development of accountable care organizations mandated by the federal health care legislation, Bednash said. ACOs are networks of doctors, hospitals and ancillary providers that will share the responsibility of providing care to all patients enrolled in them. Under ACOs, there will be an “enormous focus on outcomes, accountability and penalties for not achieving the outcomes,” she said.
Technology can be a driver in achieving outcomes, said Jonathan Mack, RN, PhD, a second keynote speaker who is director of Research and Development for the West Wireless Health Institute and also coordinator of the USD nursing schools new masters degree and certificate programs in Health Care Informatics.
But existing technology doesnt go far enough in integrating systems across healthcare organizations, and there will be a huge demand for clinical informatics specialists who can design databases to extract meaningful information, Mack said. He urged that healthcare informatics needs to become a standard course across all nursing programs. “We need to inculturate and train our nursing leaders in systems technology and database management; and I think we have a long way to go,” he said. “Most programs are still geared toward clinical delivery.”
In preparing his address, Mack said, he was inspired by Florence Nightingale, who broke new ground in her day by using statistics and what would now be labeled “pie charts” to document the causes of deaths. If she were here today she would probably have done it “using SBSS on a mobile device,” Mack said, drawing laughs from the audience. “She was very, very comfortable in the innovator role and using technology in a unique way,” he said.
The California Nursing Doctoral Conference at the University of San Diego was attended by more than 160 nurse leaders from schools and healthcare institutions across the state including UCLA, Azusa Pacific, St. Joseph Hospital, and Long Beach Medical Center.